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Dec 1, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
Inter MilanInter Milan
2-0
SpeziaSpezia
Gagliardini (36'), Martinez (58' pen.)
Martinez (44')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Manaj (31'), Kiwior (57')

Preview: Inter Milan vs. Spezia - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Inter Milan vs. Spezia - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Spezia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Inter Milan start a hectic December schedule at home to struggling Spezia on Wednesday, having closed in on the Serie A summit with some superb recent form.

Returning to San Siro just a point behind city rivals Milan and four adrift of leaders Napoli, the Nerazzurri will be seeking an eighth win from 10, while their visitors are languishing just a point above the drop zone after their latest loss on Sunday.


Match preview

Almost without warning, last season's champions have crept back into the thick of the Scudetto race, as momentum builds under the guidance of Simone Inzaghi.

Having improved on Antonio Conte's failure to progress last term, Inzaghi's side have already confirmed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2011-12, while four wins from their last six Serie A games sees them sitting on the shoulders of the previously distant top two - with a number of favourable fixtures to come before the winter break.

Indeed, the Nerazzurri's only dropped points in the league since mid-October have been creditable draws with major rivals Juventus and Milan, and they followed up an absorbing 3-2 win over Napoli with Saturday's regulation defeat of Venezia.

The key to their success has been a diverse attack, as Inter's tally of 34 goals so far ranks them among the top echelon across Europe during the current campaign.

Not only that, but Inzaghi has managed to maintain his new club's reputation as serial winners on home turf since he arrived, despite cost-cutting measures in the summer transfer market.

In all, Inter have won the highest number of home games across the top five European leagues since the beginning of the last season, so have no reason to expect anything other than three points at the final whistle on Wednesday.

A 2-1 win for the Nerazzurri against Spezia in their only other top-flight meeting, last term, featured goals from Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi. Both have long since departed for pastures new, but a retooled Inter seem set to march on in their absence.

Serie A's leakiest defence shipped another goal on Sunday, as Spezia fell to a 1-0 defeat versus Bologna at their Stadio Alberto Picco headquarters.

Conceding late on - to a Marko Arnautovic penalty awarded for handball against striker M'Bala Nzola - meant that Thiago Motta's men are now four points adrift of the closest side above them in the standings, and are just keeping their heads above the dreaded dotted line.

After an impressive debut season in the Italian top flight, Nzola has lost his way somewhat this year: indicative of the struggles the Ligurian outfit have faced in just their second-ever Serie A campaign.

While finding the net has been an issue for the Aquilotti, it has been at the other end where most of the damage has been done this term. In fact, ahead of their trip to Milan, they have lost four consecutive away matches by conceding goals at a dizzying average of 3.5 per game.

As if that was not enough to cast them into terror before clashing with the champions, Spezia have also been beaten in each of their previous Serie A fixtures played in Lombardy - a run including a loss each to Milan and Inter, plus a pair of defeats by Atalanta.

Inter Milan Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Spezia Serie A form:

  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Simone Inzaghi has been forced to add two further players to his injury list following the weekend's action, as wing-back Matteo Darmian and central defender Andrea Ranocchia both suffered thigh injuries and could now be out of commission until after Christmas.

Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij will also remain on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury, so the back three is likely to remain unchanged in his absence and that of Ranocchia. Meanwhile, Denzel Dumfries should deputise for Darmian.

Lautaro Martinez is expected to come in to the front two after scoring as a substitute last weekend, so Joaquin Correa may drop out, while Inzaghi could offer opportunities to squad players such as Matias Vecino and Stefano Sensi, given a busy schedule ahead.

After failing to score last time out, Spezia can welcome back Emmanuel Gyasi from suspension on Wednesday to bolster their forward line, and the Ghanaian winger is a probable starter for the away side at San Siro.

Thiago Motta rarely deviates from a four-man defence, often with two wide strikers supporting the frontman, but did pack the back line against Atalanta - though to little effect, as they were thumped 5-2 - and could do so again.

The former Inter midfielder is set to be without midfield pair Leo Sena and Mehdi Bourabia again, but Daniele Verde may be passed fit to return and could even feature as part of the Aquilotti's attack.

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Dimarco, Bastoni, Skriniar; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Vecino, Perisic; Martinez, Dzeko

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Amian, Erlic, Nikolaou, Bastoni; Kovalenko, Sala, Maggiore; Gyasi, Antiste; Nzola


We say: Inter Milan 3-0 Spezia

There should be no expectations other than a comfortable home win at San Siro, due to the combination of Inter's fine form and Spezia's calamitous approach to defending.

Even if Simone Inzaghi opts to rotate his resources, the quality at his disposal far outweighs his imperiled counterpart, whose reign as boss of the visitors could be coming to an end if their fortunes do not improve soon.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:curl



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Serie A Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan22165153173653
2Napoli23154443162749
3AC Milan23154447252249
4Atalanta BCAtalanta22127344261843
5Juventus23126534211342
6Roma23122940301038
7Fiorentina22113841301136
8Lazio2310674639736
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona239684338533
10Torino229583021932
11SassuoloSassuolo237883938129
12Empoli2385103747-1029
13Bologna2283112937-827
14SpeziaSpezia2374122442-1825
15Udinese225983136-524
16Sampdoria2355132941-1220
17VeneziaVenezia2246122040-2018
18CagliariCagliari2338122244-2217
19Genoa23110122045-2513
20Salernitana2232171453-3910
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1Manchester CityMan City23183255144157
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4Manchester UnitedMan Utd2211563630638
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham23114841311037
6Arsenal2111373325836
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs2011362624236
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2110471916334
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2261242323030
10Leicester CityLeicester207583437-326
11Aston Villa2182112832-426
12Southampton2251072634-825
13Crystal Palace225983134-324
14Brentford2365122638-1223
15Leeds UnitedLeeds215792440-1622
16Everton2054112435-1119
17Norwich CityNorwich2244141345-3216
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2129102143-2215
19Watford2042142340-1714
20Burnley181981627-1112
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